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The Dos and Don'ts of Cabinet Painting

October 7, 2022

Painting your cabinets is one of the easiest ways to completely makeover your space and create a fresh new look without having to spend thousands on brand-new ones. And, since many homeowners have at least some experience painting, deciding to paint your cabinets yourself may not seem like that difficult of a project. But, before you decide to make the commitment, make sure you’ve done your homework. Painting cabinets isn’t quite as easy as painting a bedroom accent wall – especially if you want it to last and not look like a rookie paint job. Here are some important dos and don'ts to consider if you decide to take on this DIY project.

Do: Make Sure You Have All of the Tools and Supplies You Need Before You Start

There’s nothing worse than changing into your painting clothes, doing all of your prep, and then opening the can of paint only to realize that you forgot to buy a paintbrush. Even somewhat simple DIY projects can take twice as long as they should if you don’t take the time to do inventory on your tools and supplies before you start.

Go through your process, make a list of everything you’ll need, and then check off those items as you get them. Don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive tools like a paint sprayer? Check your local hardware store to see if you can rent one instead. 

Don’t: Rush Through Prepping

When you’re doing a project like painting your cabinets, chances are, you can’t wait to see what the finished product is going to look like. You might be tempted to skip over some of the prep work or rush through it just so you can see how the new paint is going to look. Unfortunately, skimping on prep is one of the worst things you can do as it can make your work look sloppy and unprofessional. 

Although it may be difficult to muster up the patience, make sure that you take time to properly tape off areas, clean, scrape, and sand, where necessary, and make sure your paint is adequately mixed. Spending a little extra time upfront will go a long way toward ensuring a quality job well done! 

Do: Choose the Right Kind of Paint

When it comes time to buy paint for your cabinets, you might be overwhelmed by the choices that are available to you. Oil-based, latex, enamel – how are you to know which one to choose? 

First, make sure to stick with a high-quality brand of paint. For this project, going cheap is not a good idea. Next, consider the type of paint. Oil-based is old-school and rarely used indoors anymore. Latex paint, on the other hand, is durable, easy to clean up, and provides the smooth finish you’re looking for.

Don’t forget to choose the sheen! Satin, eggshell, matte – they all mean something different when it comes to the look and resilience of your cabinets. Semi-gloss or satin sheens are most popular in high-use areas such as kitchens and bathrooms because they are both durable, and clean easily.

Don’t: Forget to Use a Primer

Applying a primer before your chosen color is a must if you want a smooth surface for your paint to stick. This is especially important if you have laminate cabinets or unfinished cabinets as it helps the paint to adhere to the surface. Although some sources say you don't need a primer if you have wood cabinets that were previously finished, applying one will provide the smoothest, most even finish.

Do: Remove the Doors and Hardware

If you want your cabinets to look like they were painted by an eight-year-old, then go ahead and leave on the doors and hardware. But, if you prefer a professional finish, take the extra time to do this step. There really is no way that you can clean, sand, and paint your cabinets effectively otherwise.

Don’t: Try To Paint Your Cabinets Without Removing Everything Inside First

You might think that you can save time by avoiding taking everything out of your cabinets – after all, it’s not like you’re painting the inside, right? Not a good idea. During the prepping process, you’ll need to do some sanding. So, unless you don’t mind having sawdust all over your dishes, it would be wise to move them to another place.

Do: Consider Updating Your Hardware

If you’re already taking the time to dismantle your cabinets, now is a good time to also update your hardware. That’s not to say that your hardware necessarily needs updating, but changing out your knobs and pulls can have many effects. It can bring your cabinets into the current decade, completely transform your design style (modern vs. rustic), or at the most basic level, just provide a much-desired change

Do: Hire a Professional To Save Time and Ensure a Professional Look

No matter how much you enjoy doing DIY projects around home, cabinet painting is one that many homeowners prefer to leave to the professionals. No matter how many times you’ve refinished furniture or painted your walls, chances are, a professional painter will be able to complete this project in half the time or less than what it will take you to do it. 

Now, if time is of no concern, there’s also the quality to consider. Even if you are diligent about prep work, buy the best paint, and take your time completing every step, a professional cabinet painter will likely have more experience and better equipment. These two things alone can mean a world of difference when it comes to the finished quality of your painted cabinets.
Interested in hiring a 5-star painting company with over 20 years of experience serving Northern Colorado? Contact Horner Painting today to get a free quote on your cabinet painting project!

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At Horner Painting we strive for excellence. In the event that you are unhappy, we will make it right! At the completion of every job we set up a walk through to go over every detail of your project. We do not expect any payment until the job is finished to your satisfaction. All projects also include a five-year comprehensive warranty.

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